Do the Dang Thing

Last week I started plotting my new middle grade novel. The one that has been nagging at my brain for months.

I’m an office-supply-loving dork, so naturally I took to plotting techniques that allowed for colorful Post-its and spiral-bound notebooks. I must admit, I was having childlike fun laying everything out. On stickies, I wrote story milestones and increases in tension, then moved them around on my bulletin board. It was an awesome visual exercise.

The notebook was super useful as well. I carried it in my purse and anytime an idea, sentence, or relevant story thought popped into my head, I captured it in my trusty journal.

Yay for being a planner, right? Until you realize you’re waiting for the plan to fully realize itself in front of your eyes before you even start writing. Until you’re able to admit to yourself that you’re creating your own form of writer’s block by expecting to have all the details figured out first.

Yes, this story idea has been simmering for some time, but not to a full cook. And to be honest, if I had waited to start until I had answered all my questions, I would never write the dang thing.

Knowing the content of each chapter is an attractive prospect, especially because I HATE writing first drafts. I plod through them. I’d rather have everything figured out so I can draft faster and get to the fun part: revising.

But that just isn’t a realistic expectation. So, I’ve accepted the fact that I don’t know exactly where the story is going to take me. That the characters will show me who they are. That my questions will be answered along the way.

And to ensure all this, I’ve established a 500-words-a-day goal for myself. It’s low, but it’s a sweet spot that ensures I don’t mindlessly type meaningless crap just to get 1000+ words on paper.

And after five days, I’m already 3500+ words and counting. Chicka chicka yeah!

So don’t block yourself. Accept that you aren’t going to get it perfect on the first try. Set goals, put your butt in a chair, and do the dang thing.

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